In India, employing children below 14 years of age is illegal. As per the 2011 census, there were 10.1 million child workers in the country, which amounted to 3.9 percent of the child population back then. Despite it being illegal, the ground reality tells a different story.
The Quint reports from Latehar in Jharkhand, where children are forced to work from early in the day till late at night. Their childhood has been ruined for a meagre amount of Rs 150-200
Suraj Baraik worked in a hotel and earned Rs 200 a day. He would deposit the earned money at the hotel itself. His responsibilities included making tea.
Chotu Prasad also worked at a hotel. He worked 10-12 hours per day and was forced to stay back at the hotel. He was paid Rs 150, which included his food money.
What Happened to Social Security?
Due to extreme poverty, the parents of these children are left with no other choice.
Suraj's Grandmother, Jalsi Baraik, says that they use the money earned by Suraj to run the house and buy medicines.
“Suraj’s father is stuck in Uttar Pradesh because of the lockdown. He has been unable to send us any money for four months now. We have had to sell our possessions to run the house.”Sitara Devi, Suraj’s Mother
Chotu's mother Munni Devi says that she was forced to stop the child’s schooling because of financial obstacles. "His father passed away and we don't even have money for food,” she adds.
The lockdown has been tough on everybody and slowed down lives for everyone but it has made the lives of these children and their families especially hard.